AT&T PARK — All eyes were on Joe Panik on Monday night for the Giant prospect’s first start at AT&T Park after being called up from Triple-A Fresno this weekend.
But it was another minor league call-up who stole the show.
In his first major league start, San Diego starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched seven shutout innings — four without a hit — in the Padres’ 6-0 defeat over the San Francisco Giants.
It was the first shutout the Giants have suffered at the hands of the Padres since September of 2010, back when the teams were competing for a spot in the playoffs.
Perhaps it was the unfamiliar face on the mound, or the flurry of injuries that have plagued the lineup and subsequently sent it into a jumble. But the offensive momentum San Francisco started back in Arizona flopped to start this ten-game homestand.
San Francisco mustered four hits against Despaigne, and the right-hander from Cuba shined opposite Matt Cain (L, 1-6, 4.82 ERA), who got stung for his third straight loss and sixth overall.
Through his 7-1/3 innings, Cain looked like he had taken back his command after an ugly outing in Chicago in which he allowed a season-high eight runs and ten hits in five innings. He struck out seven overall and didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings.
But, as usual, it took one inning — one sharp hit just over Pablo’s strong glove — for Cain’s outing to unravel.
In the fourth, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith hit consecutive singles before Yasmani Grandal hit what looked like a three-run homer to deep right field. The home run call was reversed and called a double after a replay showed that a fan caught it on the wall, putting the Padres up 1-0.
But the baseball gods weren’t having it, and San Diego struck again when a line drive from Tommy Medica put the Padres up 3-0 once again.
They struck again in the eighth, notching three more runs to seal the deal.
Manager Bruce Bochy said that despite the score, Cain’s performance was solid. The lack of run support characteristic in Cain’s starts — the offense has scored more than two runs in only four of his ten starts — is tough for the starting pitcher to play through:
“I can tell you he’s probably getting a little tired of it. He gives you all he has every game. He did tonight, we couldn’t get runs for him. It was a better outing but I’m sure it’s wearing on him…He’s lost a lot of 1-0 games 2-0 games. The only thing he can do is go out there and give us a chance to win the game. I don’t think that bothers him, he’ll tell you ‘I could have done better.’”
Despaigne kept the Giants’ scoring opportunities sparse. He took command of the strike zone early and consistently through his seven-inning outing. Bochy was impressed with the newcomer:
“He had a two-seamer going. He was cutting it. He was hitting both sides of the plate, had a slow curve and was changing arm angle. I’ve always thought it’s an advantage for the pitcher if you haven’t seen him before but I’m not taking anything away from him, he threw well … It looked like he was just playing catch with the catcher.”
Panik, who received the biggest pre-game ovation from the crowd, went 0-for-3 in his home debut. The only Giants to get hits off Despaigne were Gregor Blanco, Hunter Pence, Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford, all with one.
The Giants face the Padres again Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. for Game 2 of this three-game series.
Ehire Adrianza had a sore right hamstring over the weekend and went in for an MRI today; he was placed on the 15-day DL and Juan Perez was called up from Triple-A Fresno… Angel Pagan took batting practice today, but Bochy said there’s still no news on when he will be back or if his back inflammation has improved . … Bochy also said Brandon Belt could start his rehab as early as Wednesday, Friday at the latest. He feels comfortable hitting but needs to work on his throwing. … Marco Scutaro starts his rehab assignment with the Arizona League Giants Tuesday.